Accountability time

No one should ever forget that we have a Constitution because the Founders regarded government as a threat to liberty and in need of restraint. And no one should ever forget that the Founders regarded the judiciary as the most dangerous branch of government because, as exemplified by Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi, it was the branch least likely to practice voluntary restraint.

Last Monday, Wisconsin Club for Growth acted on those beliefs and filed a Request for Investigation with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission.

The document cites potential misconduct by Judge Sumi in the trumped-up collective bargaining case now pending before the state Supreme Court. It points out that Sumi filed a brief with the Supreme Court asserting “definitive legal positions on issues that had not been adjudicated in the circuit court action in which she was presiding.”

Cut through the legalese and what that says is Sumi submitted a brief that demonstrates she’d prejudged the outcome of a case in which she was the sitting judge.  Unless someone can persuasively argue otherwise, Sumi violated court rules that require a judge to step aside if they’ve made public statements that commit—or appear to commit them—to one position or another in a proceeding under their review.

In Sumi’s handling of her review of the new collective bargaining law, the appearance was that she’d prejudged the case and was angling to thwart the lawful actions of the Legislature and Governor.  She then went ahead and acted in precisely the way it appeared she would.

Maybe the Judicial Commission will make Sumi explain herself. In any case, the least accountable branch is on notice that people are paying attention.

Update from

The state Supreme Court today threw out a Dane County judge’s ruling invalidating the collective
bargaining law, according to online court records.

The decision had not yet been posted at the court’s site by late this afternoon. But a posting at the court’s site for the appeal described an order in which Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi’s orders in the case are vacated and declared void.

The brief description on the court site said the court concluded the Legislature did not violate a provision in the Wisconsin Constitution that the doors of each house shall be open except when public welfare requires secrecy. During oral arguments last week, there were a series of questions about public access to a conference committee meeting in which lawmakers took up the legislation. That meeting was the basis of the open meetings violation Sumi found in invalidating the law.


About Wisconsin Club for Growth
The Club for Growth is a national network of over 40,000 men and women, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. Wisconsin Club for Growth, Inc. is dedicated to informing, educating and rallying citizens of Wisconsin to embrace and enact policies that lead to sustained economic growth, limited government, and minimal taxation. Wisconsin Club for Growth can and will have an enormous impact on the direction of our state. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes that effective lobbying is done at all stages of the budget cycle, including when our leaders make public promises and can be encouraged to support policies that spur economic growth. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes we must support pro-growth policies and encourage public officials with backbones to remain truly committed to making our economy and our state stronger. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes our leaders must stand up to the tax and spend mentality in Madison and work tirelessly to cut taxes and unleash the power of the free-market.

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